1,600 days spent by Met Police dealing with LTN fines since 2020

A Freedom of Information request has led to the revelation that fines related to LTNs have cost almost 1,600 days of police time.

Met Police

A new report has revealed that it has spent almost 1,600 days dealing with fines related to LTNs across the country since 2020.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by The Times has led to the revelation that the Met Police has been handed more than 54,000 fines for road-related offences since 2020, with around 50 per cent of those being linked to UK-wide LTNs (Low Traffic Neighbourhood).

The issue specifically relates to unmarked police vehicles. Marked vehicles responding to emergencies are allowed concessions under LTN rules, but unmarked vehicles are getting hit by councils.

Police officers are liable to pay the issued fines, the Met Police confirmed to The Times, in the event that they are unable to prove that they were acting in response to an emergency at the time for which the fine is issued.

Each fine reportedly takes 25 minutes to process, which is causing a significant amount of paperwork for officers. The Times reports it was told by a source in the police: “We've been told for years that paperwork was going to end and we'd be out on the streets permanently. But we're still doing more paperwork than ever. It wastes a lot of our time.'

“We should have some way of just going back via commander level saying 'this is a list of the tickets you've sent – they are police vehicles, full stop'.”

LTNs have been around since the mid-1970s, when they were first introduced in areas of London. The arguments for them include increasing the use of active transport, and lowering emissions, which in turn should lead to an improvement in air quality and therefore the health of the residents. The main argument against them is that they slow traffic. 

Professor Rachel Aldred of Westminster University has studied 46 LTNs in London, and spoke to the BBC earlier this year. Professor Aldred said that she found a 30 per cent reduction in traffic within the LTNs she studied, but that data regarding the traffic on the roads which border the LTNs was inconclusive in the context of its intensity.

The BBC reports that, of 41 councils which responded to an FOI request by The Taxpayer Alliance (a group which campaigns for lower taxes), 37 responded, and that the Alliance was able to conclude from the information it received that the value of fines issued for LTN offences increased from around £700,000 in 2019-20 to over £70 million in 2021-22.

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